The Sticky Wall

A person sticks a piece of paper with words on it to a large piece of fabric on the wall.

We get so many questions about the sticky wall! People are amazed, confused, impressed, and skeptical all at the same time. Here are some of the most common queries.

What is that? How does it stick?

Our sticky wall is a sheet of thin nylon coated with 3M Spray Mount. Any paper sticks to the sprayed fabric. We attach the fabric to the wall with wide blue painters tape or T-pins.

Did you invent this?

We wish! The sticky wall technique was developed by practitioners at the Institute of Cultural Affairs and is used worldwide as a part of the Technology of Participation methods.

That meeting with the sticky wall felt…different. What happened!?

Using a sticky wall changes how people engage in a meeting.

  1. Meetings are productive. Instead of talking about doing work, the sticky wall gives us an easy way to actually do work in the meeting and end up with a tangible result.
  2. Meetings are transparent. Everyone sees the work that is being done and knows where we ended up. The exact results of the meeting can be distributed afterwards.
  3. Meetings are collaborative. Because the work is up front, everyone can participate. Unlike using a projected computer where only one person can type, everyone can write and stick paper on the wall.

How can I use a sticky wall?

Sky’s the limit! We often use the sticky wall to do affinity mapping. Ask each person to contribute answers to an open-ended question (e.g. What qualities will be important in our new hire?), put the answers on the wall, organize them into groups that are related, and name the groups with a summary title. Take a picture at the end and type it up.

Build an annual calendar with your team. Put each month on the top, brainstorm actions you need to do, put them under the months, discuss and rearrange. Take a picture and put the calendar into an excel document.

Do an interactive presentation. Instead of a powerpoint, print or draw your content on large sheets of paper and put them up as you present. In the end, your audience will see all of your content at once and can take their own picture.

Can I be trained to use the sticky wall?

Absolutely. The Technology of Participation network offers excellent trainings in the Twin Cities and around the country. The first training is ToP Facilitation Methods.

I want one! Where can I get it?

You can order sticky walls here in a small or large size. We recommend large.

Can I make one myself?

Yep! Serge or hem a piece of uncoated thin nylon (70 denier) for a reusable sticky wall. Or, spray a disposable plastic tablecloth for a single use sticky wall.